Bearman Chainsaw Sculptor to Create Wooden Masterpieces at AutoFair
Concord, N.C., resident Ron Knight will bring his unique art of man and machine to the Sept. 19-22 Charlotte AutoFair. Better known as the Bearman, Knight will create two one-of-a-kind wood sculptures on Friday and Saturday with only his chainsaw.
Knight has been creating chainsaw art since 2010. He began tinkering with carvings as a hobby after watching other carvers in the mountains. Since he did not begin carving until his 60s, Knight faced some challenges when learning the skill.
"It's just something that you have to have in you," Knight said. "And I found that out the hard way trying to teach myself."
Despite health issues, Knight has been able to turn his hobby into a full-time occupation. His passion really took off when he was invited to represent North Carolina in a 2012 carving competition. He won fifth place out of 12 contestants and came back to the competition in 2013, taking first place.
"I don't call it a job because I am officially retired," Knight said. "But I put a lot of time into it trying to be the best at what I can with what I'm doing. I do look at it as a hobby."
True to his alias, the Bearman specializes in bear carvings. However, at this year's AutoFair, Knight plans to create two racing-related carvings. The first will be a bench with checkered flags hanging off the armrests and the Charlotte Motor Speedway logo on the back. Knight also hopes to go back to his roots and create a four or five-foot-tall bear waving a checkered flag.
Knight said he enjoys doing local events and making a name for himself outside of the competition scene. Events like the AutoFair allow him to take his time on each piece and make it the best that it can be.
"I like to do events in the community," Knight said. "When you start doing stuff for Charlotte [Motor] Speedway, I think that speaks a lot for somebody inviting you to come here and do that."
Knight hopes to put on a show that fans can enjoy as well as create pieces that someone will be proud to own. His carvings from the event and other pieces will be available for sale at the Charlotte AutoFair.
The Charlotte AutoFair annually attracts more than 100,000 visitors, features nearly 50 car club displays and offers a surplus of automotive parts and memorabilia for sale or trade. There's also a collector car auction conducted by Dealer Auctions Inc. and more than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
Charlotte AutoFair tickets are $10 for adults and free for children 13 and under. Four-day passes are available for just $30. AutoFair is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For tickets or additional information about AutoFair or other events at Charlotte Motor Speedway, call 1-800-455-FANS or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.